New Hampshire Parishioners Head to Philadelphia to See Pope Francis

A group from the Manchester Diocese in New Hampshire who arrived in Philadelphia Thursday, are eagerly awaiting the arrival of Pope Francis.

Before the sun came up, their buses were loaded in the parking lot of St. Pius X in Manchester.

The group of 100 was wide awake and ready to go.

"Awesome, just awesome you can't explain it unless you have the faith to go with it," explained Concord resident Kathy Marabella.

Their faith is taking them to Philadelphia to see Pope Francis, although they're well aware they may not actually see him through the crowd.

"It's okay we will be on holy ground in his holy presence," Marabella said. "He is Christ vigor on earth and it's just so exciting to be able to be there."

That excitement is being shared around the world, no matter your ethnicity, social status, or your age.

"Everyone is looking forward to it and so am I," said parishioner Sven Syverson.

"I saw he was coming and I really wanted to come and see him," said Liam Hodge who was there with his sister and his parents.

Christine Hodge says this family trip was her son's idea.

"It was really Liam who convinced us all it's the right thing to do and the right time to do it," she said.

Many would say young Liam's interest is proof that this Pope is reversing the church's recent decline in popularity.

"I think it's great the Pope is able to reach out to so many people and help them understand what the fullness of truth is in the Catholic Church," said Liam's dad, Jim.

Two buses full of hope, Catholics who say they're encouraged by the 78-year-old Pope who is balancing power with tenderness, and challenging society to be more accepting.

"He's a man of mercy who is getting back to the message of Christ," said Alma Grand of Plymouth.

"I think it is a once in a lifetime opportunity," said Jim Hodge. "Bring in driving distance is pretty special."

This group will be at the World Meeting of Families on Saturday afternoon where they will hear Manchester teenager Christopher Duffley perform one of his original songs in front of more than one million people. 

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